Confusion reigned on the issue of designation of a special court for the trial of two Italian marines - Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone - as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday sent its FIR in the case to two different judges in New Delhi. It is mandatory to send a copy of every FIR to its court concerned.
One copy was of the FIR was sent to the court of chief metropolitan magistrate in Patiala house complex here and another was marked to the special court that regularly conducts proceedings in the NIA cases.
“The NIA act doesn’t have provisions for committal court where a chargesheet is filed after completion of the probe. The committal court takes cognizance of the chargesheet and then it is transferred or committed to sessions court for the conduct of trial. The act clearly states that the any presiding officer of a special NIA court shall be sessions judge. But in this case instructs were issued that the court of chief metropolitan magistrate will the designated committal court in the matter of two Italian marines. Therefore, we decided to send the FIR to the CMM and the already designated court of the NIA,” said a senior NIA official on the condition of anonymity.
The NIA officials are now waiting for the next hearing of the case in the Supreme Court, scheduled to take place on April 16, to sort out all the issues in this regard.
The NIA is also grappling with the issue of custody of the two marines. At the moment both the marines are in the ‘custody’ of the SC.
“In case of investigators seeking custody of marines, which court they will have to approach, the SC, which has the custody of the marines,” said the official.
But the official also clarified that at the moment there is no need to seek any custody and the agency may summon the two accused marines for questioning, if required, in the initial phase of the probe.